Although our society is finally paying more attention to mental health issues, many people still don’t realize just how bad someone can suffer? Take depression, for example. Everyone feels depressed about something occasionally. But severe depression… depression that’s so bad that it leaves someone unable to function… that’s a nasty and horrible thing to face.
Now, a lot of people have depression and function just fine with basic treatment. But some aren’t so fortunate. That’s who we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the type of depression where someone doesn’t even have the energy to get out of bed in the morning. Where does that lead? How do they go to work or school? How to do they support themselves… or their family?
Thankfully, the mental health field has been making strides to help with depression. But the symptoms don’t go away overnight. It can take time — sometimes years. How does someone get their depression treated while still living up to their life demands? Here we’ll discuss more about severe depression and some options to can take that could improve quality of life.
Major Depressive Disorder
Clinical Depression (Major Depression, or MDD) is noted by a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or lack of interest in outside stimuli. We can go down a rabbit hole with all the different types of depression that exist, but we’ll stick to generalizing overall clinical depression for this purpose.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling less interested in activities once enjoyed
- Feeling unusually tired, or lack of energy
- Being sad or irritable every day
- Unusual sleep (not enough or too much)
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Difficulty concentrating
- In severe cases: thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Treatment For Depression
There are plenty of options, and sometimes a combination of treatments work best. We’ll go with the most common here:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) generally involves visits with a licensed therapist. For mild cases, this treatment alone may work just fine. Although, the treatment process can take time.
Medication Treatment (often used alongside CBT) involves evaluations by a physician. Antidepressant medications are typically prescribed, such as SSRIs… which help with reuptake of serotonin.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a treatment that uses magnetic fields to help improve depression symptoms. This is done with a TMS machine and under the supervision of a physician. This type of treatment can be prescribed when other methods have been ineffective.
Ketamine treatment is newer and mainly prescribed when other treatment options haven’t worked in the past. Esketamine is the newest treatment option approved earlier this year. This treatment involves visits with the psychiatrist and administration of Ketamine with a nasal spray.
Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), partial hospitalization, or residential treatment can also be prescribed by a physician if someone needs treatment quickly. These are considered elevated levels of care. They all include therapy and are often used alongside other methods, such as medication treatment.
When Depression Becomes Severe (What To Do?)
As said before… sometimes depression gets so bad, it doesn’t even allow a person to function. It can be devastating for them, their family, their job… it can completely turn their life upside down.
Think about it. If someone barely has the energy to leave the house, how can they be expected to do their job? Would they be expected to work even if they had pneumonia? Exactly. It’s time we accept that severe mental health issues are just like any other medical problem.
There are extreme cases where someone might even need to take a leave just to get their mental health on track. Now, it’s important to note that only a licensed physician can make that determination. But sometimes that option is a last resort. It can protect someone from ending up bankrupt because they can’t work to pay their bills.
And in the most extreme cases, some people may not be able to work at all. Their chronic depression could be so bad, they’re just lucky to be somewhat functioning. Of course, there’s a lot of medical and legal determination involved in those very extreme cases.
What to Consider…
Depression isn’t anything to scoff at. It can leave some people in helpless situations where special measures need to be taken. If those times do come, a physician will always be the one to make the decision. For others… maybe depression isn’t so severe, but still should never be ignored. And it’s always wise to seek treatment from a licensed provider whenever symptoms of depression show up.
To discover more about treatment for depression, contact our IOP staff today.